Composer and guitarist Scott Macmillan has played a significant role expanding audiences for Atlantic Canadian music nationally and internationally, taking him to places like Carnegie Hall in New York, the British Isles and Germany and crisscrossing Canada conducting orchestras. His most recent collaboration is “Aiseag-the ferryboat” with Scottish composer/harpist Mary Ann Kennedy, performed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. A passionate music-maker, Scott explores a wide range of genres and his many awards, appointments, commissions and critical reviews ensure his musical legacy will be lasting.
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A high energy traditional trio comprised of Colin Grant (fiddle), Jason Roach (piano), and Darren McMullen (multi-Instrumentalist) is integrated with the rough and red-eyed blues/funk rhythm section of Merlin Clarke and Donnie Calabrese to produce a kind of Celtic fusion that is as much Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and Frank Zappa as it is Ashley MacIsaac. While their lively sound never strays too far from its Cape Breton roots, Sprag Session has caught the ear of everyone from indie scenesters to blue-haired bingo stampers, earning themselves an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and versatile live acts in the Celtic music world (and beyond).
Newfoundland native Terry Kelly has been making music since childhood. He has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with Symphony Orchestras, and performed his original music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and for the troops in Afghanistan. He is most recognized for his inspirational song, “A Pittance of Time”. With Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts, the King Clancy Award recipient has received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award and is a member of the Order of Canada.
With roots going back six generations, this family of players shares a legacy of tradition. Ever since Joe Pete Chaisson formed the PEI Fiddlers Association and established the Rollo Bay Fiddle festival, the family has worked to preserve and protect traditional music and dance on Prince Edward Island. Joe Pete’s three sons–Peter, Kenny and Kevin–still set the standard for younger generations to follow. This year the younger generation–J.J. (guitar, fiddle), Koady (guitar, tenor banjo), Brent (guitar), Tim (fiddle, vocals, guitar), and Darla (piano)–takes centre stage at Celtic Colours.
The Men of the Deeps is a choir of working and retired coal miners from Cape Breton Island, organized in 1966 as part of Cape Breton’s contribution to Canada’s Centennial Year. The Men of the Deeps have released nine albums, been the subject of two NFB films and one book, toured around the world and frequently been featured on TV and radio. Today the Men of the Deeps are more than a singing group – it is a social institution. There is a camaraderie amongst the members of the group that carries over to their audiences wherever they perform.
Inciting mosh pits and still making Mom proud, The Stanfields attract fans of all classes and creeds with their rhythm-fueled hard rock laced with traditional roots sounds. It started in 2008 when The Stanfields took the East Coast entirely by storm with a single entitled “The Dirtiest Drunk (in the History of Liquor)” and a live show best described as intense celebration. The award-winning, five-piece band based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has released 3 albums now. The most recent, For King and Country, is an acoustic project that was released in October 2013 in Canada and Germany.
Tim Edey is regarded by many to be one of the finest multi-instrumental players of his generation in the Celtic music folk scene worldwide. Tim made his first Celtic Colours appearance in 2010 to universal acclaim. A mixture of dazzling technical ability, soulful feel, musical charisma and amazing instrumental improvisation have made Tim a highly in demand session musician both in studio and on stage.
To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement: to do so within a centuries old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable. Over a twenty year career, Tony McManus has come to be recognized throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic music. With his original approach to this ancient art, Tony takes the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes and accurately transfers them to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music.